BBC Studios’ branded services arm, which includes international channels and streaming services, delivered a solid performance for the 2018-19 financial year, with EBITDA growth of 16% that reflected a strong performance from BBC America and BritBox in the US and Canada.
BBC America and BritBox passed the half million subscriber mark ahead of target.
BBC Studios’ first full-year numbers as a merged entity were released as part of the BBC annual report, published today.
The commercial arm as a whole delivered record returns to the BBC of £243 million (€272 million), with EBITDA up 51% to £159 million. Tortal revenues amounted to £1.373 billion, down from £1.411 million last year, however.
BBC Studios said it was on track to meet its target of £1.2 billion of financial returns to the BBC by year five of the current Charter, although it added that its strategic decision to invest for long term sustainable growth and business phasing will likely mean marginally lower returns in the next financial year.
“It has been an excellent year for BBC Studios, both creatively and financially. Two separate subsidiaries have combined swiftly and efficiently to create a new British studio operating on the world stage, able to take ideas seamlessly through funding, creation, distribution and commercialisation. An extremely strong programme slate has seen high quality and award-winning British content like Dynasties, Les Misérables, Famalam and the Festival of Remembrance play out across UK screens and internationally. Our financial performance, with record returns to both the BBC and to indie partners, underpins this creative success,” said BBC Studios CEO Tim Davie.
“The markets in which BBC Studios operates remain changeable, but we know there is strong demand for premium, inspiring content – with forthcoming shows like Seven Worlds, One Planet and The Left Behind setting the standard within the industry. Our business is firmly focused on investing in talent, rights and ideas, growing our partnerships around the world, evolving our culture, creativity, diversity and innovation, and ensuring we are well positioned to meet this demand and boost our ongoing contributions to the BBC and the wider creative industry.”
Separately, BBC Global News, the BBC’s commercial, international news subsidiary which operates the 24 hour news channel BBC World News and its digital counterpart BBC.com posted EBITDA of £8 million after expanding BBC World News’ footprint by 2% over the year.
The channel is now available to a record 465 million households, up from 458 million the previous year. The growth was driven by gains in the Americas and South Asia. BBC.com also increased its reach, from 88 million monthly browsers in 2017-18, to 93.5 million, up 6% year on year.
Jim Egan, CEO of BBC Global News, said: “Far from being outdated or irrelevant, our long-standing commitment to trust and credibility is more highly valued by our audiences and clients around the world than ever before. In a landscape where single issue, agenda-driven or simply fake news is becoming increasingly commonplace, it’s vital to ensure that there is a quality alternative which is truly impartial, accurate and independent.”
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